According to a U.S. military official on the 10th, a U.S. military official said that the U.S. military is on high alert and strengthens the defense of troops in the Middle East in response to possible attacks by Iran. The official said that the Pentagon is paying close attention to the pro-Iran Iraqi militia “disturbing potential signs of attack preparation”.
Iraqi militias recently resumed rocket attacks nearly a year after Iran fired ballistic missiles at the U.S. military-garrisoned Iraq’s Ain-Assad airbase, which injured more than 100 U.S. soldiers in the brain.
The Pentagon announced Thursday local time that the U.S. military sent two B-52 bombers to take off from Barksdale, Louisiana, to cruise to the Middle East on the same day to “stop Iran’s aggression”. In addition, the U.S. military has taken other measures in recent weeks, including returning the aircraft carrier Nimitz to the Middle East and sending an additional fighter squadron from Europe.
The military official said that these actions were aimed at intimidating Iran from taking any aggressive actions against U.S. and coalition forces in the region. The Pentagon fears Iran may take advantage of the transition of power of the President of the United States, the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq and Afghanistan, and the upcoming anniversary of the assassination of Iranian General Suleimani by the U.S. military to launch attacks.
“All these factors have now made the U.S. military take a solid defensive posture in the region,” the official said, and these moves are “not offensive in nature.” He pointed out, “We have no plan to take action. Our plan is to show a strong defensive posture so that potential opponents do not act rashly.”
This week’s “short notice, uninterrupted” bomber flight was designed to demonstrate the commitment of the U.S. military to other countries in the region, according to a statement from the U.S. Central Command.
“The ability to allow strategic bombers to fly half the globe, carry on uninterrupted missions and quickly integrate them with multiple regional partners demonstrate our close working relationships and our shared commitment to regional security and stability,” said Admiral Frank McKenzie, the commander of the U.S. Central Command. He also said that the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq and Afghanistan will not have a negative impact on the ability to target Iran, and that withdrawal from the region will reduce the number of potential targets of Iranian attacks.
“We don’t seek conflict, but we must be prepared to respond to any emergency or oppose any aggression,” McKenzie said.
“Iran understands that any current attack on U.S. interests in the Middle East, including through third parties, is not in its interest,” McKenzie said during a video conference on Thursday.
He pointed out, “I have been having active discussions with the Chairman of the United States Joint Chiefs of Staff and the Secretary of Defense about what we need to put Iran in check. Our aim is to convince them (Iran) that it is not in their interest to attack us directly or indirectly through a third party (possibly Iraq). We want Iran to understand that it is not in their interest.”
He continued, “From the current situation, I think we have reached what I call the level of containment [in our relations with Iran]. It may not be perfect. However, I don’t think it is in their interest that they (Iran) see that doing so (i.e. attacking American targets). This is a military factor. There are many political and diplomatic factors, but my main concern is security and military factors.